The Coming Priest and King

The Coming Priest and King

Apr 03, 2016

By: Chris Matthews

Passage: Zechariah 6:9-15

Series: Special

The Old Testament scholar, George L. Robinson, calls the book of Zechariah “the most Messianic, the most truly apocalyptic and eschatological, of all the writings of the OT.”  And even more specifically of our text today another OT scholar has said of it, “This is one of the most remarkable and precious Messianic prophesies, and there is no plainer prophetic utterance in the whole Old Testament as to the Person of the promised Redeemer, the office he was to fill, and the mission he was to accomplish.” (David Baron) 

As we here at Heritage Grace Community Church are convinced of, that not only are all of the Scriptures inspired by God, but that all of the Scriptures (including the Old Testament) are in fact speaking of and pointing us to the person and work of Jesus Christ.  The Savior whom all of the Old Covenant saints looked forward to and the Savior whom all of us in the New Covenant look back upon for our salvations. This reality is certainly seen in the passage before us today. 

  1. The Crowning of Joshua the High Priest v.9-11 
  1. How the Coming Branch is Typified in Joshua the Priest/King v.12-14 
  1. The Building of the Branch’s Temple will be the Sign of Fulfillment v.15 

Let’s first quickly note the historical context of our text.   

First our author, Zechariah, whose name means “The LORD remembers”, was not only a priest (Nehemiah 12:12,16) but as we also see in this letter, a prophet; he himself interestingly enough holding two offices.  Zechariah was a contemporary of Haggai and was also writing around 520 B.C. which was during the postexilic period of Israel’s captivity under Babylon.   If you recall how 2 Chronicles 36:21-23 and Ezra 1:1-4 tell us that during Israel’s captivity in Babylon, Babylon was conquered by the Persians under the leadership of King Cyrus who God sovereignly put in his heart the desire to allow the Israelites to return home and to rebuild the temple of God.  Zechariah is writing during the slow process that it was of having the temple in Jerusalem reconstructed.  So Zechariah’s as well as Haggai’s chief aim was to stir up the people of God to finish the rebuilding of the temple, and their motivation for their work was the prophetic utterances and visions that God had given them about the future blessings that would be Israel’s particularly in the coming of the Messianic age.   

Zechariah’s book begins in chapter 1 with a call to repentance for the people of Israel to return to the LORD from their idolatry.   And then beginning from verse 7 of chapter 1 all the way to verse 8 of chapter 6 Zechariah begins to recall a series of 8 visions that he has received from the angel of the LORD.  All of the visions containing different forms of prophetic imagery most of which are apocalyptic and eschatological, much of which is picked up by the Apostle John in the book of Revelation. (Note in your reference Bibles the many references to the book of Revelation.)  Now just as Calvin dared not write a commentary on the book of Revelation I dare not dive into the particulars of Zechariah’s visions having but a couple of weeks to prepare, so instead I chose to pick up where the visions end and a real life enactment of the future Messiah to come is portrayed through the crowning of Joshua the high priest by Zechariah. 

  1. The Crowning of Joshua the High Priest v.9-11 

9The word of the LORD also came to me, saying, 10“Take an offering from the exiles, from Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah; and you go the same day and enter the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah, where they have arrived from Babylon. 11“Take silver and gold, make an ornate crown and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 

9The word of the LORD also came to me, saying, 

So as all of the prophetic visions about the coming Kingdom of God have come to an end.  We now have the angel of the LORD providing not a vision but a Divine message instructing Zechariah to act out a typological performance of the crowning of the King of God’s Kingdom.   I think that it is interesting to see how the prophetic and typological Scriptures work together in this way here in Zechariah.   

So the details of the instruction begin in v.10   

10“Take an offering from the exiles, from Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah; and you go the same day and enter the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah, where they have arrived from Babylon 

So what we have here are 3 Israelite men who have for whatever reason remained back in Bablyon and are just now leaving Bablyon to come to Israel.  Now we have no other details pertaining to these three exiles mentioned (Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah) other than what is given in our text here.  Our text tells us that they are exiles from Babylon and are carrying with them an offering that Zechariah is to take from them.    

Now what is so interesting about what is going on here is that if you are familiar with the situation that continued post exile from Babylon, you know of how God continued to sovereignly work in the hearts of the pagan Kings in the land of Babylon.  Although Cyrus the Persian King after conquering Babylon first allowed the Israelites to return home and rebuild the temple, so even after Cyrus’ death, Darius his successor as well as Artaxerxes, Darius’ successor continued to support the people of Israel’s return to their homeland.   

So even though multiple kings have come and gone in Babylon, God has continued to sovereignly provide for the rebuilding of His temple by not only having the Kings of Babylon allow the exiled Israelites to give to the temple fund, but even from Babylon’s own treasury, gold and silver are to be taken to Jerusalem.  One can’t help but be reminded of how Israel’s first exile ended in Egypt, with the Israelites leaving Egypt with all of their gold and silver to the extent that Exodus 12:36 describes it as the Israelites having plundered the Egyptians.”  So God is again painting the picture of how His salvation plays out.  Luke 8:18  for whoever has, to him more shall be given; and whoever does not have, even what he thinks he has shall be taken away from him.”  

11“Take silver and gold, make an ornate crown and set it on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 

So of these offerings of silver and gold Zechariah is to bring Joshua the high priest into the house of Josiah whom we don’t know much else about, and in Josiah’s house is where this ceremony is to take place of the crowing of Joshua.     

Now an interesting exegetical issue arises in the fact that the word crown in Hebrew is plural.  The commentators wonder whether there are literally to be more than one crown made or if the multiple precious metals (silver and gold) are being combined to form one crown might call for the plural.  It seems more fitting that there just be one crown for Joshua’s head but when you read Revelation 19:11–12  concerning the coming Joshua of whom all of this is typical you become a little more open to the possibility of the plural crowns being literal.  And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war. 12His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems (crowns).   

 

  1. How the Coming Branch is Typified in Joshua the Priest/King v.12-14 

And so now we have in Israel, a High Priest being crowned as King.  These two offices being always distinct in Israel’s history.   If you remember from 1 Samuel 13, how King Saul took it upon himself to offer the burnt offerings and peace offerings instead of waiting for Samuel, the result was the removal of his Kingdom.  There are but a couple of exceptions to there being a Priest/King in Israel, both of which point to the coming Priest/King.  The first exception being Melchizedek; (Genesis 14:18) king of Salem and priest of God Most High.  2nd exception being King David where in 1 Samuel 30 after the Amalekites have raided Ziklag and taken captive all the women and children of Israel including David’s two wives, David calls for Abiathar the priest to give to him the ephod whereby David takes it upon himself to seek for the Lord’s direction and the Lord answered him.  And so with these previous typological examples, and the example here in our text we see that there is one to come who will ultimately bear this complete duo role of Priest/King over God’s people.   

Verse 12 begins the coronation words that Zechariah is to relate to Joshua….. 

 12“Then say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the LORD. 13“Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.” ’  

Here we are given both a Messianic title for the One whom Joshua is depicting, the name/title of Branch, and what He will do which is to build the temple of the LORD and rule on His throne.  Now verse 12 doesn’t tell us much about this name Branch other than that He will branch out from where He is, which gives the impression that He will in some way expand out from where He is.  But we get help in Zechariah 3:8–9  where this expression has already been used.  

8‘Now listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you—indeed they are men who are a symbol, for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the Branch. 9‘For behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.  

Now I point out just a couple of pertinent points from what Zechariah has already told us concerning this coming Branch. 

  1. We know from v.8 that Joshua himself is not the Branch.  V.8 tells us that Joshua is but a symbol of the servant who is to come. 
  1. We learn in verse 9 that through this coming Branch God will remove the iniquity of the land of Israel.  Forgiveness of sins will be the prominent aspect of His ministry 
  1. V.9 also tells us that this removal of iniquity will be brought about in one day.  This precludes the idea that through the process of temple restoration and the repetitive nature of the sacrificial system in the temple will be the means through which the Branch brings about His redemption.  It will occur in one day. 

Zechariah 3 therefore gives us more insight into the Priestly nature of the Branch’s work but if you turn over to Jeremiah 33:14–16  we see again how this Priest will also be in the line of the King. 

14‘Behold, days are coming,’ declares the LORD, ‘when I will fulfill the good word which I have spoken concerning the house of Israel and the house of Judah. 15‘In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Branch of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. 16‘In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will dwell in safety; and this is the name by which she will be called: the LORD is our righteousness.’  

Here we also see this combination of the Branch’s priestly function being intertwined with the reality that he will spring forth from King David’s lineage.  The Branch who is both priest and king. 

v.13  As the priest He will…….. 13 will build the temple of the LORD, which obviously can’t be referring to the temple already being constructed by King Zerubbabel there in Jerusalem, that temple has been long under construction, but must be referring to some future temple of the LORD. 

As the King He will.     13b  He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.” ’  

This coming Branch of whom Joshua is but a symbol will combine these two offices of Priest and King. 

Now for us this side of the incarnation, there is no doubt who this Branch is.  We know who has so perfectly and beautifully combined these two offices of Priest and King.  To some of those before like the Essene communities who dwelt around the Qumran caves around the Dead Sea in the 1st century they believed that there would be two Messiah’s.  One of a Priest and one of a King because of prophesies like Zechariah but the New Testament lays forth for us the perfect work of Jesus Christ as both our High Priest and King.  It leaves us little doubt why texts such as Psalm 110 would be the most quoted text in our New Testaments, because in Psalm 110 again we have painted for us this One to come who would bare both roles.  Christ’s Kingly role Psalm 110:1–2  The LORD says to my Lord: “Sit at My right hand Until I make Your enemies a footstool for Your feet.” 2The LORD will stretch forth Your strong scepter from Zion, saying, “Rule in the midst of Your enemies.” As well as Christ’s Priestly role Psalm 110:4  The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”  

As we come to our New Testaments, we see the author’s there pointing to Jesus’ ascension as the crowning fusion of His Priestly work as well as His Kingly Position in places such as Hebrews 10:12–14  12but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD, 13waiting from that time onward UNTIL HIS ENEMIES BE MADE A FOOTSTOOL FOR HIS FEET. 14For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.  

 

  1. The Building of the Branch’s Temple will be the Sign of Fulfillment v.15 

14“Now the crown will become a reminder in the temple of the LORD to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah and Hen the son of Zephaniah. 15“Those who are far off will come and build the temple of the LORD.” Then you will know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. And it will take place if you completely obey the LORD your God.   

Now what is so interesting here is that the crown does not remain on Joshua’s head as if he is the King of whom all of this is pointing.  The crown is taken off of Joshua and put into the temple of the Lord to be a reminder.  A reminder of a future King to come.  It’s a reminder to those exiles from afar off Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah and Hen who likewise play a symbolic role in the fact that the Branch’s Priestly and Kingly work will not only be for those of the people of Israel, but that many from afar will pour in to partake of the blessings of this Branch’s benefits.  All of this ingathering of those from afar will be the sign that the Branch has in fact come.   

This is just what we saw in the coming of Jesus, a branching out of salvation from Israel to the world.  John 10:16  I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will hear My voice; and they will become one flock with one shepherd.  

We brothers and sisters, by our having been brought to Christ through the preaching of the Gospel are the confirmation that God’s Branch has come into the world.   

Ephesians 2:13–22  13But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, 16and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. 17AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; 18for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. 19So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit. 

We are the temple of the Lord being built up of both Jews and Gentile, both being united to the Priest King and because of our union with Him we too have obtained a Priestly and Kingly status. 

1 Peter 2:9  But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION 

Why do we go back to these Old Testament texts? 

What should prophetic and typological Scriptures do for us?  They should foster faith.  To see how God has been sovereignly working throughout all of human history to reveal the coming of His Son should renew our confidence in the faithfulness of God as well as in the faithfulness of His Word.  The 66 books of the Bible are not a random collation of pious sayings collected over the centuries but are in fact a singular message from the singular true and living God who has been graciously revealing Himself and His salvation through His Son to His creation since the beginning of time.   

To look back upon these prophetic texts should renew our confidence in the fact the Jesus of Nazareth is in fact the Messiah of God who will save His people from their sins.


Sermon notes are personal pastoral notes and not intended for grammar perfection. If you have questions about certain parts, please contact us.